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June 14, 2012 @ 1:05 pm
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Penn: "We Are Going To Run People Out Of The Stadium"

Written by Mark
Mark Cook


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Bucs offensive tackle Donald Penn has never been short on confidence or afraid to speak his mind. Thursday was no different as the veteran left tackle spoke freely with the media as the team wrapped up its offseason program.
All the pressure in the world was on Bucs offensive tackle Donald Penn.

The entire team gathered around the veteran lineman shouting encouragement halfway through the final day of Tampa Bay’s three-day mandatory mini-camp. Penn was ready as the JUGGS machine shot the football through the bright sunshine. Calmly, Penn stepped under the descending football as it fell into his arms. The practice field erupted with cheers and high fives, as if the Buccaneers had just clinched a playoff berth.

The catch signaled the end of the first mandatory mini-camp for the Buccaneers under new head coach Greg Schiano, and a nearly six-week break before the team and coaches will next get together for the start of training camp at the end of July.

“I was joking around with coach [Schiano] about what a great athlete I am and he threw that up there and I did a good job,” Penn said. “I know I can catch and you guys [the media] know I can catch. If I had dropped it we would have had to continue practicing. So since I caught it we ended practice early, which is great. We have been working hard, real hard, and put in a lot of work. And for him to do that today just shows how much work we put in and [that we're] doing a good job for coach to give us that day off.

Penn was asked why out of the 88 players in attendance he was given the honor – and pressure – of ending the mini-camp early.

"I don’t know, maybe because I talk so much,” Penn said. “I was talking about how good of an athlete I was, but I’m glad he put it on me. Because I knew I was going to catch it and I knew I was going to be able to do it for the team. I kind of like those challenges.

“He could have given me a little warning so I could have talked to Preston Parker and got some pointers. But it was spur of the moment and we've been doing a lot of that. Yesterday we did a lot of situational stuff. Spur of the moment he'll blow the whistle and we'll go team and it'll be situational stuff, which is big. With this young team we need to learn that situational stuff fast. So that's good.”

Penn went on to talk about the difference in this season’s OTAs and mini-camps versus years past.

"To tell you the truth, the intensity. Coach asked for it to be here and it stayed there all three days,” Penn said. “And it didn’t drop, really. That's the one big thing you have to take into the next few weeks off and take into camp. We are competing out there. A couple times a defensive guy made a play and I had to go congratulate them. [Anthony] Gaitor made a good play on [Vincent] Jackson in the end zone yesterday and I had to go congratulate Gaitor because it was such a good play. And I’m on offense and we're competing. But the intensity level is there and we're fighting and working.”

Changing a culture of losing, as Tampa Bay did in 2011, isn’t always easy, but Penn said it starts at the top with the leadership of Schiano.

“Everyone has bought in,” Penn said. “And that is something Coach Schiano said when he first got here was that the sooner we buy in the sooner we will start winning. And I think everyone is buying in. No one likes losing. Last year was real tough on everybody. Losing that many games at the end it was tough, real tough. I don’t think anyone in that locker room wants that feeling again. I definitely don’t.

“I bought in when I first met with coach Schiano when he first got here. I was already bought in. I want to win. Everybody in that locker room knows what they put out last year wasn’t as good as it should have been. We were hoping Rah [Raheem Morris] was going to be here to do it with him but that’s part of the game, it has changed with Coach Schiano coming in. I was already bought in coming into this offseason. I wanted to get stronger. I was kind of excited with the moves we made. I kind of want the season to start right now.”

With the three-day mini-camp in the books, the next official time the team will be back together will be in late July with the start of training camp. Penn has some big plans set for the almost six-week break.

“Yeah I am getting married in July,” Penn said. “I’m going home to get ready for that. Chill with my family, get my training together. I’m going to try and make this year one of my best years yet. So that is my plan. I got big Carl [Nicks] next to me and he'll make me a better player than I am, so this year coming up I want to be one of my best years yet.”

Penn thinks this season may surprise some people and his confidence was apparent when describing what he expects from the 2012 season.

“I always tell you guys [that] I talk a lot of stuff, but I back it up,” Penn said. “You have got to be confidant to play this game. If you don’t have confidence to play this game then you aren’t going to be good at it. That’s my opinion and that’s how Schiano feels. That is what he is bringing to us.

“We have to go in there confident. We are going to go in there on Sunday and we are going to have the sun on our side and the fans on our side. And that is our plan this year. We're going to run people out of that stadium. We're going to be in the best shape, we're going to play the longest and we're going to be physical and tough. And we're going to be perfect at all the little things.”
Last modified on Thursday, 14 June 2012 13:51

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  • avatar

    Well I think the bucs are starting to believe in themselves again,Maybe other fans and teams will if they sneak into the playoffs and mowed down the other teams-GO BUCS
  • avatar

    Visionbroome, I am sorry but I don't believe Dungy ever said the best defense is having a good offense. Under Dungy we had some pretty bad offenses and ultimately it's what got him fired. The only reason why I am pointing this out is because Dungy would drive me crazy with his mentality of let's win games 11-6 or if the defense can hold the other team to 16 points we will win, maybe. That recipe is a losing one. If you have a hall of Fame defense you might go to the playoffs and always lose if your lucky. I think Schiano's approach is nothing like Dungy's other than him being a disciplinarian & a GOD fearing man. Schiano is about taking shots down field and that notion would make Dungy pee his pants. Penn is looking slimmed down and has the right attitude. Let's hope he is the voice of many come the regular season.
  • avatar

    man, i'm dreaming about 2 1000 yard rushers..... probably just a fantasy, but i like hearing the bravado spoken by the offensive line....if they don't believe they can be great, they won't... it looks like they're buying into the new way of thinking. i like it.
  • avatar

    Being that we pretty much have to put some young guys on defensive for those perspective leaders of the future I'd have to add Foster to the list. The kid had his downs last year but for a rookie with no off season thrust into the position he was in with unquestionably bad coaching, you've got to think he's going to be something special with some backing now.
  • avatar

    Guys ,we're all or some of us looking at the defense with some concerns and deservedly so but I believe coach schiano approach to the game is very similar to that of coach dungy's in that the best defense is a good offense at this point. This will allow the young defense a chance to grow,mature and get a good foot hold, if the run game can take off as expected it will protect the defense and freeman doesn't have to feel the need to carry the team. There are 3 pro bowl players on the line that love to run blocking and even trueblood's best asset is run blocking,while zuttah is bigger,younger and quicker than our previous center and possibly stronger since he can play all 5 positions across the board. This all goes back to coach schiano and dungy's ground and pound point of view and making opposing QB's as spectators rather than trying to attack our young defense. I know no one wants to hear about young defense ,but the fact is they are whether we like it or not,but as the season goes on this young defense will mature quite rapidly IMO, allowing the clayborne's,barron's, bennett's and even the gmc's to gain the confidence the offense has and that youthful confidence with the talent will show up.(i.e OKC) Young Talent simply has to know it can win and when it does ,well we've seen young talent match with confidence and the results of that match ( Lombardy Trophy),now I'm not predicting anything just remembering how this team won previously and seeing many similarities between the 2 teams. OKC may not win this series ,but now everyone will be aware that they are a dangerous team, I'm looking forward to my team (TBB) to be regared in such light. I like dangerous teams especially when they are wearing red and pewter.
  • avatar

    Ditto to What Horse Just Said!!!
  • avatar

    I also feel toofamiliar17 brought up a good topic of discussion. Unfortunately the type of players that he is describing I'm not sure that we have enough of on either side of the ball. We have guys that are close, but to me are not in that category. The only guys I would put in that category are Nicks, Talib, Joseph, Barber and Barth. Hopefully I'll have many more to add after this season.
  • avatar

    toofamiliar17 - I like your list. However, on defense, the guy I feel most comfortable counting on is Clayborn. That guys is a beast and tough as nails. I find it curious that the two guys you feel "really confident" of both have played exactly 0 snaps in the NFL. Be careful with the rookies. They will break your heart if you're not careful.
  • avatar

    I'll go out on a limb and predict the defense will be better than last year's dismal ranking. We know it won't be worse.
  • avatar

    I think back to Sam Wyche, who said that a team needs 7 great players between the defense and offense to be a playoff team. Some other coach later said that the right number was 10 - 10 players playing at a superb level consistently would elevate the play of those around them and the team as a whole. For example, Sapp on the d-line made Pep and Mcfarland better than they both actually were, Lynch and Barber in the secondary elevated others back there, etc. So let's find a midpoint and say we need 8 great players to succeed and extend that to try for at least 4 on both sides of the ball, or maybe 3 on one and 5 on the other. On the offensive side, I feel really good. I believe that any of the following guys have at least a solid chance to meet that criteria: Free, Nicks, Joseph, Blount, Martin, V-Jack, Clark, and one more receiver from the remaining group who I believe will step up and be a force (likely either Williams, PP, or Benn). My worry is on the defensive side. The potential is there, but almost all of the guys on my list are prospects rather than guys who have ever really demonstrated that they can do it: Price, McCoy, Clayborn, Foster, David, Ronde, and Barron. Of those, I only feel truly confident in David, and Barron as those types of guys for the long term. We'll definitely need at least 2 of those others to step up in the near future and demonstrate that they can be part of that 8+ player nucleus that will increase the quality of play of those around them. I'm hopeful, but wary.
  • avatar

    IT is going to be fun to watch this OL play this year. I know we are going to have at least one 1000 yd back. I expect big things from this offense.
  • avatar

    I agree with Horse, i thank the offense will gel, and be ready when the season starts,too many good names out there.But i do worry about the defense coming together so soon.
  • avatar

    Given how few people were in the stadium last year "running people out of the stadium" is something of an unfortunate phrase ;) Kidding aside, it's good to hear the confidence and hope the plan works out. Going to be interesting to see how going "against the grain" of a league that seems to be changing the rules every season to encourage more passing and less runnning is going to work out.
  • avatar

    Fired Up!!! I like what I am hearing. I am not worried about the Offense ; it's the Defense that I am concerned about. I am not sure we are competitive there yet; I hope I am wrong.
  • avatar

    Donald, congratulations on the upcoming marriage!
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